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Definition of Hypercapnia and Its Early Symptoms

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

Definition of Hypercapnia 

Hypercapnia is a condition when the level of carbon dioxide arises in the blood. It happens in a case when there is an inadequate supply of oxygen in the lungs and that there is insufficiency in the level of carbon dioxide emission. However, this is not just a reason for Hypercapnia. Indeed, this can also happen due to many other lungs diseases.

Causes:

As stated, there are other causes of Hypercapnia. These causes are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, sleep apnea, genetics, nerve disorders and muscular problems and many other causes. Common forms of COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis leads to many issues such as mucus and inflammation in the airways. Both of these conditions can cause an increased level of carbon dioxide content in the bloodstream. These conditions can arise from several human practices like excessive smoking of cigarettes. One thing should be noted that not all people with COPD would develop Hypercapnia. However, the risk of Hypercapnia increases for a person with a progressing COPD.  

Sleep apnea can also boost the formation of Hypercapnia in the human body. Sleep apnea is a condition when a person experiences interruption in the breathing rhythm. The person finds it difficult to breathe normally throughout the sleep. This may happen due to imbalances in the content of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. The person may not be able to generate an adequate amount of oxygen or else. A person whether or not has developed sleep apnea can be identified if he or she has developed a habit of sleeping even during the daytime. This will also include headaches upon walking and difficulty in concentrating on things.

A genetic condition can also give rise to Hypercapnia. It happens when under a genetic condition the liver does not succeed to produce enough of alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT). This can also cause Hypercapnia. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) is a kind of protein, which is very vital to keep the lung healthier.

Nerve disorders and muscular problems can also give rise to Hypercapnia in the human body. Some people might experience a condition that they do not receive appropriate support from their muscles and nerves. This situation can boost or support lung function. For example, muscular dystrophy can cause or give rise to weakening of muscles. This will eventually lead to breathing problems. There are other many disorders, which can contribute to Hypercapnia. These are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Guillain-Barre syndrome, encephalitis and myasthenia gravis.

There are many other causes of Hypercapnia. There are few activities, which affect the breathing condition in the human being. These activities are diving or using the ventilator. Brainstem stroke can also affect breathing. Hypothermia can also cause Hypercapnia. It is a condition when there is excessive loss of heat from the body. Overweight people can also have trouble breathing. It is due to the development of obesity hypoventilation in the body. An overdose of a kind of drugs like opioids can also cause Hypercapnia.    

Early Symptoms:

There are many symptoms, which indicate that the person has developed Hypercapnia. The early signs and symptoms of Hypercapnia include flushed skin, tachypnea, full pulse, hand flaps, dyspnea, extrasystoles, muscle twitches, possible raised blood pressure and reduced neural activity. According to few experts, the list of early symptoms may also include headache, lethargy and confusion. However, these symptoms are specific only to mild Hypercapnia.

Treatment:

Before moving to treat Hypercapnia, it should first be diagnosed. For diagnosis, few tests can be done. Arterial blood gas test is one of the tests that can be helpful in diagnosing Hypercapnia. This test checks and tries to figure out the level of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the bloodstream. Spirometer test can also be helpful in detecting Hypercapnia. In this test, the person is asked to blow into a tube. This assesses how much a person can throw out of their lungs. This also measures how fast they can do it. An X-ray or a CT scan can check whether there is any presence of lung conditions and lung damage.

Once a person is diagnosed to be infected from Hypercapnia, he or she should reach to the nearest medical institutions for receiving the treatment. Hypercapnia can be treated in numerous ways such as by undergoing the Ventilation process, Medication process, Oxygen Therapy, Lifestyle Changes and Surgery.

Hypercapnia can be treated with two types of ventilation process such as non-invasive ventilation and mechanical ventilation. In non-invasive ventilation, breathing can be assisted with a flow of air, which comes through a nasal mask or mouthpiece. This kind of treatment is helpful for people who have developed sleep apnea. The treatment can help such patient to keep the airways open during the night times. This is also known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). On the other hand, mechanical ventilation allows inserting a tube through the mouth of the patient. The tube is inserted into their airway. This form of treatment is defined as intubation.

Certain medications can also be used to treat Hypercapnia. Antibiotics can be useful in treating pneumonia or any other kind of respiratory infections. Bronchodilators are useful in opening the airways. Corticosteroids can be beneficial in reducing the inflammation in the airway.

Oxygen Therapy is another way to treat Hypercapnia. In this kind of treatment, a device is used to fill oxygen into the lungs. This therapy is a good way-out for those who are suffering from Hypercapnia. However, they will need to undergo therapy on a regular basis.

Lifestyle Changes can also help to fight Hypercapnia. To avoid its early symptoms and to overcome the disease the Doctors can recommend few changes to the diet and physical activity. Doctors can also advise these people to avoid cigarettes to limit their exposure to dust, chemicals and fumes.  

Surgery is a possible way-out in a condition the lungs or airways have been damaged. Options include doing surgery to reduce the lung volume or going for a lung transplant.

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